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How Barack Obama Lost the Judicial Nomination Standoff

There is probably nobody on Earth more surprised than Barack Obama that one of the lasting legacies of his presidency will be an unfilled Supreme Court seat. This was not the fight he chose or wanted. It’s easy to forget how open Obama was, as a new president, about his unwillingness to do battle over the judicial branch. In March of 2009, Obama vowed to put the “confirmation wars behind us” and picked, as his very first judicial nominee, David Hamilton—a moderate, white, 14-year veteran of the federal bench—for an open seat on the 7 th U.
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